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  June 15, 2012
A Lasting Memory...

 


"People hear what they see"
~ Bobby Darin

Summer is a time to gather with friends to celebrate the extra hours of sunshine and warm weather. 

Every so often during the summer months, Susan and I find ourselves hosts of an intimate outdoor dinner party with friends to share good food and wine... to tell tall tales beside the warmth of an outdoor adobe fireplace... and to engage in laughter still felt in our midsection the following morning...

This particular evening, we served grilled dill crusted salmon, wasabi mashed potatoes, and vine ripened cherry tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar.  It’s a dish that I’ve been preparing since college when I wanted so badly to impress my date with a phenomenal home-cooked meal.

Truth be told, for most of my life I have only been able to cook three memorable meals:  Grilled dill salmon, a red meat sauce spooned over a variety of pastas, and a layered lasagna.  With just three signature recipes, I now have a undeserved reputation among my friends that I can actually cook.

This is what I like to call "The Power of Three".

Many years ago while I was still in high school, I read a book (whose title / author have been long forgotten) whereas the author offered a hypothesis that a person needs to only be able to know or perform three things of a single subject... albeit extremely well... in order for others to perceive that you are an "expert" in that particular field.

At first I didn’t really believe such nonsense... people are much smarter than that, but after years of testing this theory, I have come to the conclusion that it is indeed true.

If you want someone to believe that you play the guitar or piano well... then you only need to know how to play three popular songs... very well though...

If you want someone to believe that you know a lot about astronomy, then you need to be able to correctly identify three different constellations (other than Orion, the big dipper and/or Cassiopeia).  To add to your body of knowledge, perhaps you can point out the major stars within those constellations... 

Become extremely knowable about three cities (where to eat... where to stay... where to go... what to do...).  Make sure they are big cities with lots of history and/or neighborhood charm such as New York, London, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Washington, DC or Rome.

If you offer up one or two examples... then people believe that you are possibly a "one-trick-pony"... go beyond three things... then you are perceived to be a bore or a "know-it-all" type... but three seems to be the magic number...

The "Power of Three" also plays an important role in business... specifically as it pertains to marketing and branding (branding is really nothing more than your reputation in the market).

On a macroscopic level, a company should be known for doing three things better than any of its competitors. 

If you’re a pizza company... then perhaps it’s fast delivery, great tasting pizza, and natural ingredients...

If you’re a bank... then maybe it’s longer teller hours, no-fees, and more accessible ATMs...

If you’re an airline then it might be no baggage fees, low fares, and fully refundable tickets...

Some companies have just one explicit brand promise... "when it positively has to be there over-night" (FedEx)... "better ingredients... better pizza" (Papa John’s)... "the ultimate driving machine" (BMW)... but behind their one big thing are typically two others...

They will tell you that a BMW is a fun car to drive ("ultimate driving machine")... but they will also implicitly tell you about the quality of "German engineering" (reliability) and their high resale prices (value)... three things...

By trying to be more than three things, you’ll just end up confusing your customer base and they won’t remember what it is that you have to offer.

Building your brand centers around doing just three things... but you need to do them incredibly well...

Doing them incredibly well is the key...

Mediocrity has no place in the "power of three" theory... make whatever you do memorable.  

If you can only make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and hot dogs then you will never gain the reputation of a great cook... rather your reputation will be that of a horrible cook... but learn to cook only three gourmet meals... and you will forever be known as an extraordinary chef.

Be it right or wrong, people believe in your reputation rather than who you truly are.  Persona of what you project is what people see... and what they believe to be true about you... just ask any Hollywood celebrity.

If your customers perceive that you offer low prices, great service or high quality products, then that becomes their reality and they will buy from you... even if you truly don’t have the lowest prices, the best service, or the highest quality products every time...

Changing people’s perception is extremely difficult once it’s been established... that’s why making a good  first impression is so important... doing it right the first time...

Look for ways to create something remarkable... something significant... something exceptional... this should always be the goal...

...the goal to become a lasting memory...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to create great memories together.



Jim Kalb
President
OptiFuse
www.optifuse.blogspot.com
jimk@optifuse.com


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